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Character Education Lesson Plan

Teaching Kindness: Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed

by Emily Pearson

ordinary mary

Grades: K-2

CASEL Standard: Social Awareness- The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures and contexts. 

Character Education Lesson Objective: To discuss different ways to show kindness and understand the impact of random acts of kindness


Part 1:  

  • Have you ever heard the term random acts of kindness?  What does it mean?

  • A random act of kindness is something kind that you do for a stranger just to make them happy.

  • Have you ever done a random act of kindness?  

  • There are so many different ways to show kindness to people.  Showing kindness to someone can be as simple as holding a door open for them when they are carrying something or smiling at someone.

  • You might make cookies for a neighbor, pick up something that someone dropped or draw a picture for someone.  

  • Random acts of kindness can be small, easy things that make someone smile.  

  • You are going to be looking at a list of random acts of kindness.  Mark the ones that you have done in the past as well as the ones that you think that you could do.

  • After you have a chance to mark the random acts of kindness that you have done or could do, we will share.

  • As you are going over the list of random acts of kindness with the students, encourage them to mark any that they think they could do that they do not already have marked.

Part 2:  

  • We are going to be reading a book called, Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson.

  • Read the book.

  • What was the random act of kindness that Mary did at the beginning of the book?

  • How did Mary’s act of kindness affect other people?

  • Mary’s act of kindness had a huge effect on other people.  Has anyone ever done anything for you that made you feel extra happy?  When you felt extra happy, did you do something nice for someone else?

  • What was one of the acts of kindness in the book that you liked the best?  Why?

  • Do you think any of the people who did the acts of kindness realized what a big impact their act had?  

  • Many of the acts of kindness in the book were very small things.  Have you ever done any of those small acts of kindness?

  • Mary learned that a small act of kindness can have a huge ripple effect and make many people happy.

Part 3:  

  • Mary’s extraordinary deed of picking blueberries for her neighbor set off a chain reaction of random acts of kindness.  

  • You are now going to write a story about an extraordinary deed that you could do that might set off a chain reaction of random acts of kindness that affect many people.

  • Think about one act of kindness that you could do for someone specific.  How would that person react and what would they do next?

  • After you are done writing your story, you will have the chance to share it.

  • When the students have completed their stories, allow them to share.  Point out how many different acts of kindness there are and how different people would react differently to them.

  • Encourage the students to do random acts of kindness in their daily lives.

Related lessons:

View more: Character Education Lesson Plans

Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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